View Full Version : Rolling for treasure or giving it?

2007-10-07, 06:20 PM
Which do you prefer? I like rolling for it, gives the players a better feeling if they get something good *cough*brother's twf ranger getting a +2 short sword at 3rd level*cough*.

But my friend prefers giving things he thinks the players will need. I don't like that, as half the time it will spoil a plot, or just be dumb. Can't brag about your +5 flaming greatsword, because the DM gave it to you, not you getting lucky.


2007-10-07, 06:31 PM
I usually give items, but not beacuse "players need it". I just putting items that seems interesting/logical in given location in dungeon/some other place.

Sometimes I give "needed" items, when some player is really poor without something.
Also rolling is sometimes simplest way of determining some random loot, although sometimes can give strange things in given places.

All ways have their advantages anyway.

2007-10-07, 06:35 PM
I usually roll. Occasionally though, as a "quest reward" or something, I'll give them an item. Not one that they'll need later, just one that helps the character.

Eg: the tank getting brute gauntlets, or something like that.

brian c
2007-10-07, 06:35 PM
I prefer to assign treasure. Lots of times if you roll, you'll get something that the PCs can't use at all, so they end up trying to sell it and buy what they actually need. You might as well just give them what they need in the first place, unless you really enjoy RP haggling. Also, if some party members are outshining others, the DM can use treasure to help balance the party (ie, if you have a Batman wizard and a Fighter in the party, high levels, DM won't assign as many scrolls as you might randomly roll, but will assign more awesome weapons and armor)

2007-10-07, 06:40 PM
I roll most of the time, but it's better to place treasure than to roll for it.

Dark Knight Renee
2007-10-07, 07:19 PM
I tend to roll a bunch of treasure, then pick from the best or most interesting ones and place those. I also tend to chuck out an unusual number of items which don't vibe with me. Sometimes I'll design a specific bit of treasure to suite a character, but most of the time when that happens there is an in-game reason for it, whether it be a helpful ally, a running in-game joke (acid protection after a fight in which you needed it!), or the whim of the totally batty BBEG.

2007-10-07, 07:27 PM
Rolling for treasure is how I usually approach rewards for the PCs. Sometimes, I may reroll if the reward just sucks or is too good. I often end up with junk like a Scroll of Magic Weapon or extremely awesome stuff like a Wishblade with all 3 Wishes still inside. I do let some stuff slide though, like the +3 Anarchic, Shocking, Flaming Burst Longsword for the 10th level party.
However, I do agree that when you roll for treasure, it typically gets sold. Like the aforementioned sword that can't be used because the only chaotic members of the party are the Sorcerer, who can't use it, and the Crusader whose only purpose is to trigger traps (now impossible since he got turned into a puppy permanently).

2007-10-07, 08:00 PM
Our DM has a mini binder. This binder is full of notes, homemade tables, random benefits or drawbacks and general cost estimate. The binder is where our most horrific cursed items come from. The binder scares us.

But yeah, he plans everything he gives us, but he's very reasonable about it all. He'll either gimp us, or give us awesome stuff, as he sees fits. He's usually got a good reason for whatever he does to us.

Except the cursed items. Those are just horrible.

2007-10-07, 08:00 PM
well i'd say your longsword specialist finding longswords left and right would be a bit silly. but adding in custom treasure pieces is perfectly acceptable. but rolling for most of is ok. but if you wanna tailor the treasure based on the baddies or economy of area, feel free to add on.

2007-10-07, 09:11 PM
I like rolling for things cuz it is fun for me to do... and it often results in strange surprises that end up being part of the plot, or side plot, or just some interesting quirk with one of the monsters...

One of my favorites is when I rolled a masterwork net for some troglodytes, it ended up turning the whole tide of that battle (i of course gave _that_ trog exotic weapon prof: net, for free), and funny enough, one of my players can use it fairly well even without the proficiency.... which I am considering to give him for free if he just uses the damn net enough times.

But I always make sure to fudge things as well, either by rerolling till I like what I see, or by just flat out loading the items that I want the players to have. Oddly enough, I have insanely good luck rolling for magic armor and weapons... I swear, out of a ECL 6 fight, I will often end up with some sword with like +2 and two other magical properties... I usually nerf such results, but still its fun to watch it happen and think, damn... how come I never roll like this when Im playing??!

2007-10-07, 11:04 PM
Most of the opponents I send at my players are humanoids with class levels, so most of the treasure (maybe 80%) is chosen as equipment for those humanoids.

Treasure associated with encounters with traps, environment, puzzles, and critters that can't use items gets rolled and stowed in the next convenient store room/hidden cache/dragon hoard.

2007-10-07, 11:23 PM
I tend to roll all my treasure, but I'll personalize it - I rolled a two-handed sword as part of the treasure I was giving out recently, but since none of my players could use it, and I didn't feel like having a kobold weilding the bloody thing, I DM-Fiated it into a Longsword.

In the dungeon they're currently in, I've been giving the magical items minor benefits; So far, they've found :

Dwarven Waraxe

Each is a +1 weapon, with minor abilities. The longbow ignores the DR of any undead, the waraxe can trigger a Burning Hands spell 3/day (And automatically does so on a crit), and the longsword can shift between being a longsword and a shortsword, and automatically resizes to fit its owner.

There's also a flail later on that bonds with its weilder and can give them some minor plant-like abilities, such as Low Light Vision and the ability to "eat and drink" through photosynthesis.

2007-10-07, 11:31 PM
depends on what we kill. If its a random encounter that has loot we roll. If its a hord like loot we roll. If its a plot fight if we want the loot we need to kill the bad guy who is using it against us. Some times its both depending on the encounter.

2007-10-07, 11:44 PM
mostly random unless needed like giving a +2 shocking spiked chain for the spike chain wielding fighter

2007-10-09, 07:15 AM
Give it or roll up it up before the encounter.

Actually got a Wish ring that way once. Getting to roll for it afterwards. BBEG not using his treasure.

2007-10-09, 07:21 AM
i try to include 1 or 2 things that the pc's can use and would fit with one of the characters. then ill just roll for the rest.

2007-10-09, 07:38 AM
I usually roll for treasure then add aJoke Item (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58589) or two

2007-10-09, 07:44 AM
I usually roll, because I think that it would be kind of weird if the treasure villains have just happens to be exactly what they need. Still, just to make them happy I occasionally custom make treasures.

2007-10-09, 07:46 AM
It's a mix for me. I assign most of the treasure, especially when the monster would logically have certain things; a death knight is not going to be walking around with a metamagic rod of Quicken Spell, he's going to be toting a big honkin' sword with a lot of nasty mojo on it. On the other hand, I'll often roll a few times for inspiration.

2007-10-09, 08:26 AM
I generally base "magic item" treasure on "what the enemy would reasonably have." Inferna the Fire Sorceress is not going to have a Trident of Fish Command, no matter what the table says. Depending on the group, I might or might not roll on the artwork or gemstone table to see what they get.

2007-10-09, 08:48 AM
I rarely roll treasure. Enemies usually carry what they would use, not random items that make no sense for them to have. Occasionally I'll give them items tailored for them as a bonus. They'll end up with a fair amount of stuff they'll never use (after all, how many +1 longswords can you really use anyway?). I don't have that many magic items anyway, as I prefer to run lower level campaigns and relatively low magic worlds.

2007-10-09, 09:06 AM
Which do you prefer?

I roll on the treasure tables, but only to get general ideas. I'm not going to include a +2 flaming sword from a random treasure roll if I don't think the encounter warrants it. I also won't allow a "no treasure" roll to stand if I think that players deserve something for an encounter.

Basically, I use the random tables to fill in gaps where I don't have an idea what I want in a treasure stash. If I go with a random roll for coinage, I generally take the rolled value and redistribute it into various denominations as I see fit (no reason why a band of kobolds would have a big stash of platinum with no gold, silver, or copper, ya know?). Similarly, I'll get values for gems and art objects and then distribute it into however many items of whatever individual values I please.

I generally manage distribution of magic items to make sure everyone in the party is getting useful stuff at roughly the same rate. I don't want the group to be awash in arcane scrolls, making the wizard happy while the cleric, fighter, and rogue grumble about never getting anything they can use. I also tend to drop things that are likely to be useful later (like potions of lesser restoration if I'm planning to use poisonous monsters or shadow in a future session).

So, basically, I maintain control over treasure distribution in my campaign; I just use the treasure tables to give me ideas when I have nothing specific in mind.

EDIT: Also, if I include monsters with Craft skills and feats, the adventure will tend to include items that said monsters can create. They have those skills and feats for a reason, after all.

2007-10-09, 04:13 PM
I use a random item generation program. I just keep hitting reroll until I find something that I think is appropriate or interesting, and keep rerolling 'level appropriate' treasure until I think I have enough. So I sort of both give specific treasure and roll, to answer the question. Also, I like to get this done in advance, and then assign the treasure to monsters who can then use it vs. the party.

2007-10-09, 04:51 PM
i give them whatever the NPCs would have. by the NPC wealth table, the rat wont have a +5 vorpal large sized greatsword, no matter how many times i roll 100. the level 15 ogre barbarian might though.

the wizard you killed has 4 pearls of power, and a rods of extend and quicken, yes, thats why he killed half of you, remember?

when im a player i usually sell everything though. i plan out my characters very well and raendom treasure is quite annoying. and why the **** was the orc with the +3 greatsword using a club with nothing in his off hand?

2007-10-09, 05:01 PM
PC's have mostly items that make sense for their build and mission, with a couple random things they've picked up but haven't felt like parting with.

NPC's have mostly items that make sense for their build and mission, with a couple random things they've picked up but haven't felt like parting with.

Just seems more logical that way, I dunno.

Tor the Fallen
2007-10-09, 05:05 PM
I tend to let the players roll for treasure.

The Neoclassic
2007-10-09, 05:39 PM
I pick treasure not to help the PCs nor challenge them (though I try to make at least some of it useful), but through a semi-realistic look at where the adversary has been and what they would have picked up along the way.

I've never randomly rolled for treasure, and my current DM doesn't either. Then again, I've never done a dungeon-crawl-heavy campaign where tons of treasure needs to be generated quickly, so that may be part of it.

2007-10-09, 06:14 PM
I'll generaly pre-roll treasure, then distribute it amongst the NPCs for them to use against the players. I'll discard things that don't makes sense, or I'll keep a few items in the NPC's "To sell for useful stuff later" pile (hey, if the characters have such a pile, there's no reason NPCs shouldn't).

What I don't like is rolling after the fact, then finding out that the bandits had the whole time sitting in thier cart some +2 longswords, and +1 studded leather, and some scrolls for thier wizard buddy to use.

Enemies use thier loot in my encounters. If they had three cure potions, and they manage to use two of them during the encounter, the PC's only get one. Same with scrolls, charges on wands/rings/etc...

2007-10-09, 10:27 PM
mostly i will do a half and half. i don't have time to hand pick every treasure list so i generate them with a treasure generator. then i pull out items i feel are useless, poor rewards or simply inappropriate.

i replace those items with expanded book rewards that the generator cannot include because it runs on the OGL, such as items from the DMGII, magic item compendium or other books. these items are often picked to assist PCs who are falling behind on gear.

Mad Mask
2007-10-10, 05:24 AM
I never roll for treasure (the 1-level orc has a +3 flaming burst greatsword ? Why didn't he use it ?) because it might be inappropriate.
I use treasure that the monster consider useful (such as scrolls for a wizard BBEG), even if they are useless to the players. Most of the time, D&D doesn't make much sense, so it's better to avoid enforcing its nonsense.

2007-10-10, 05:52 AM
Wow. It quite honestly surprises me to see that so many people actually randomise treasure. Now, I haven't DMed a game myself that has gone past level three, but I wouldn't even consider the option of rolling - nor has any DM I've played with.

To clarify, I'd place items based on what was likely the NPCs/monsters would posess, while trying to keep it useful for the PCs.

2007-10-10, 09:51 AM
I usualy roll for treasure and then change slightly..

"Okay they just beat these orcs, now the leader had a +1 greatsword so Ill add that, *rolls, rolls* Hmm since theres no spellcasters in the orc group then Ill take out that wand and replace it with a small gemstone and some more coins."

Lord Tataraus
2007-10-10, 01:12 PM
I never roll, I always give treasure based on what is useful to the party. I never have an instance where a piece of treasure is "needed" though it might help. Also, I give the players large, but spread out loot. It might take a few sessions to great any wealth, but they usually get a lot. Though I tend to give a lot of non-treasure loot such as vehicles and things of that nature.

2007-10-10, 01:44 PM
I never roll for treasure (the 1-level orc has a +3 flaming burst greatsword ? Why didn't he use it ?) because it might be inappropriate.
I use treasure that the monster consider useful (such as scrolls for a wizard BBEG), even if they are useless to the players. Most of the time, D&D doesn't make much sense, so it's better to avoid enforcing its nonsense.

Precicely why I roll treasure for my encounters first....then the Orc does use it :smallbiggrin: